APA Style: Nothing to be afraid of!

For anyone who is taking or will ever take a Psychology, Sociology, Economics, Business, or Criminology class: read this carefully!

Think back to high school and the papers that you had to write. Most likely, those papers were written in MLA format. Not only did your high school teach you MLA format, but they drilled it into your head! Now you’re in college and you know that there is more than one style of paper. Suddenly, your professor assigns a paper that needs to be written in APA format!

*cue mini freakout*

Courtesy of www.gifsoup.com

Don’t freak out! It’s not nearly as scary as it looks…it’s just different. APA Style is used in the social sciences and almost everyone, at one point or another, will use it.

Being in the Psychology department, I have to use APA format ALL THE TIME. Here is a little “how to” guide and some of my best tips on how to tackle APA format:

  • You must have a title page! The title page should have: the title of paper, the writer’s name, and the school (each on a different line). This should be centered and be placed about halfway down the page.
  • Make sure you have an appropriate header. The header should have the title of the paper at the top left and the page number (nothing else, just the numeral) at the top right. HOWEVER, on the first page, there should be the label “Running head:” before the title in the header.
  • If the paper requires an abstract, it should be placed on a separate piece of paper right behind the title page.
  • Some papers will have subheadings within the paper; however, that is not always required. Make sure you check with your professor and the rubric for the assignment to find out if they’re required.
  • At the end of the paper, there should be a “References” page containing all of the sources that you cited in the paper.

    Sample APA title page courtesy of http://owl.purdue.edu

  • Everything is double-spaced! (Including title page and references page)
  • In-text citations should be at the end of the sentence. They should contain: (Author’s last name, year published, p. #) ← in that format, too! Don’t forget to put the period after the in-text citation!
  • Last but certainly not least…the bibliography. Here is the basic bibliography for APA format (formatted correctly):

Author’s last name, first initial. middle initial. (year published). Title of book. City of publication, State: Publisher.

Just fill in the information for your source and you’re good to go!

(Note: Some types of sources may require slightly different formatting. Please make sure that you use the correct format.)

**Before you finish, double check to make sure you remembered to put periods at the end of every bibliography citation. This may seem tedious but so many people forget them or their fingers move so quickly over the keyboard that they forget it.

If you need to use a different bibliography format or are still unsure about your citation, check out The Purdue OWL online (https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/2/10/). If you’re still struggling with APA Style, make an appointment to come see one of the writing center tutors for help!!

Courtesy of http://owl.english.purdue.edu

Adrienne, peer tutor